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As we feared, the Trump administration’s budget request calls for the complete elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. This is unacceptable. By eliminating this funding, the administration is waging an assault on free expression, on the impact the arts have on the economy, and the role arts play in education, healing, and innovation.

The $147.9 million budget of the National Endowment for the Arts makes up merely .004 percent of the federal budget. This is just 46 cents for every American, less than the cost of a single stamp. Last year, the NEA made more than 2,400 grants in almost 16,000 communities in every Congressional district across the country.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the arts and culture sector is a $704 billion industry, or 4.2 percent of the nation’s GDP – a larger share of the economy than transportation, tourism, and agriculture. The nonprofit arts industry alone produces $135 billion in economic activity annually. The arts employ more than 4 million people in the creative industries nationally, prepare our students for the innovative thinking required in the 21st century workplace, and spur tourism. Arts organizations are spirited and entrepreneurial businesses. They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from within their communities, and market and promote their regions. The arts creates jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.

Since 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts has supported art and arts education initiatives in every Congressional District in the United States, and the agency serves as an important economic driver for those communities. Every $1 of NEA funding leverages $9 in private and public dollars and fuels a dynamic cultural economy and generates millions of American jobs.

LitNet played a lead role in defending the NEA in the early ’90’s and in protecting fellowships for creative writers. We will stand up for the agency and its Literature program as it faces this new, serious threat.

We won these battles twenty-five years ago. Together, we can win again.

Here is how you can help:

1) SIGN UP for LitNet Action Alerts to stay informed as the situation evolves.

2) EMAIL MEMBERS OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE quickly and easily using THIS LINK and encourage them to support the NEA.

3) CALL YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES and urge them to defend the NEA!

  • CLICK HERE to find your Senators’ contact information.
  • CLICK HERE to find your U.S. Representative’s contact information.

Here is a draft script for you to use:

“My name is ___ and I am constituent of [Senator/Representative] ____ .  I’m calling today to urge the [Senator/Representative] to oppose the President’s proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts. Can you tell me whether [Senator/Representative] will pledge to protect the National Endowment for the Arts?”

  • If the staffer says, yes, say thank you. “Please convey my support to [Senator/Representative] ____ for his/her stand on this issue.”
  • If the staffer says no, or is not able to say what the Senator/Representative’s position is, tell them why you think it is important. Personal stories are best. Tell them why you—as a writer, a cultural worker, a reader and a fan of literature and the arts—value the NEA.

Often the staffer will ask for your address or zip code, as they want to be sure that you are a constituent. Remember, too, that the Congressional staffers who take these calls are dealing with an extraordinary volume of calls. Be nice and remember to say, “Thank you for taking my call.”

If you get a voice mail system, leave your full name and address or zip code to be sure that your comment will be tallied.

A phone call is the best way to convey how important this issue is to you. But if you are not able to get through after numerous attempts, you might try this free tool, which will turn your text into a fax and send it to your Senators and Representative! https://resistbot.io/

Please let us know which offices you spoke to, and whether your Senator/Representative is ready to stand up for the NEA or needs more convincing. Email info@litnet.org.

4) THANK REPUBLICANS WHO SUPPORT the NEA and NEA. The New York Times reported that there were some Republicans lining up in support of the NEA. Call the following Republican Senators and Representatives and thank them for their support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities:

  • Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) – (202) 224-6665
  • Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) – (202) 224-2523
  • Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV 2nd) – (202) 225-6155
  • Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ 7th) – (202) 225-5361

Want to do more?

If you want to do more, please help spread the word.

  • Share this page with a friend or colleague.
  • On social media we will be announcing things you can do every day to help fight for the NEA, so make sure you follow @litnet_org on Twitter and like @TheLiteraryNetwork on Facebook.
  • If you know someone who would like to sign up to get LitNet Action Alerts, share this link – https://goo.gl/forms/yzuktDSPFvJR36mj2

Please act now!